Wednesday, October 4, 2017
“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”
A late September evening marked the first time I spotted a turtle along the Ironton Rail Trail, taking its own sweet time moseying toward the creek.
The Ironton Rail Trail loops more than nine miles through Whitehall Township, the Borough of Coplay and North Whitehall Township in Pennsylvania.
The Ironton Railroad was a shortline railroad in Lehigh County. Originally built in 1861 to haul iron ore and limestone to blast furnaces along the Lehigh River, traffic later shifted to carrying Portland Cement when local iron mining declined in the early 20th century. Much of the railroad had already been abandoned when it became part of Conrail in 1976, and the last of its trackage was removed in 1984.
In 1996, Whitehall Township purchased 9.2 miles of the right-of-way from Conrail, transforming it into the Ironton Rail Trail.